Waking Up to Reality
The human mind is conditioned from birth by the external influences of geography, race, gender, parents and family, and later by the educational system, society and media. It is through this constant interaction that the mind comes to accept life as reality. Contrast this with the teachings of perfect mystics who explain that life is not real, while providing proof and giving the technique to clear the mind of its conditioning, thereby awakening the mind from the dream state humanity calls ‘life’.
From a spiritual perspective, it is reasonable to say humanity is blind. Man is born blind, and goes through life blindly, getting married, having children, growing old, and reaches the grave still blind. Our degree of blindness is proportional to how independent our thinking is of our conditioning. The poet, William Blake, eloquently put it this way:
If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Simply put, if you ask a child who has never left the confines of his village how big the world is, the answer would be very different from one given by a seasoned traveller.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word ‘perception’ is from the Latin root percepcio: the act of observation, a mental image or concept. The awareness of the environment through physical sensation, or physical sensation interpreted in the light of experience.
Using this definition as a basis, we can assume that what we know to be real is the sum total of our experience. What is our experience? Albert Einstein declared “Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” We define our experiences by our conditioning.
From a mystical standpoint, disciples are quick to realize that we are spiritual beings going through a human experience, without translating words into action. Talking about meditation does not bring the results of sitting in meditation. We need to get past our conditioning, beyond our comfort level, to the point of inconvenience, if we truly want to attain reality. A disciple’s only worry in life should be when he is negligent in his spiritual duties; everything else is just a part of the karmic accounts he has to pay.
However, until we meet a perfect Master who explains our condition and enlightens us with the absolute truth, we have an excuse. We have an excuse because we believe that heaven on earth is possible, by changing the world with our idealism. We live our lives by the saying, “Where ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise” – but at what price?
We need to distinguish between ignorance and foolishness. Simply, ignorance is not being able to fix a computer when it breaks down, while being foolish is thinking you are an IT expert when you are not. An ignorant person can admit being foolish and improve, while a fool remains content in darkness.
For a seeker, this parody of life ends when a perfect Master makes himself known, provides the teachings, and adopts him as a disciple, through initiation. Then things get interesting and the real adventure of life begins! The truth is we have no excuse because we have not chosen the Master, but rather Master has chosen us.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great Light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a Light has shined.
Bible, Isaiah 9:1
It is clear we no longer have room for ignorance or disobedience, for we have been duly enlightened. Further, we have our Master’s pledge to see us through to the end. Maharaj Charan Singh profoundly states:
Once a Master has accepted a disciple, he never leaves him but is ever ready to guide him on the path. He does much more for us than the human mind can comprehend.
Light on Sant Mat
There is hope for every disciple on this path. When the Lord has arranged for our initiation into this science, it means He wants us to come back to Him one day. And if that is the Lord’s wish, what power can keep us back here for long? It is only a question of time until our burdens are lightened and we are pure enough to stand in His presence. This is the greatest blessing the Lord can shower on any human being.
Quest for Light
It doesn’t get any better than this. What more can we desire? What more can we wish for, having been gifted with the greatest blessing the Lord can give any human being – dare we ask for more?
The only thing worth asking for is perfect understanding of the teachings, so we can practise our spiritual duties to perfection; to help us absorb and digest the teachings, and put them to proper use. We need to know how things work on the path. Maharaj Charan Singh has called it a science, which means it is a system of gathering knowledge and organizing and condensing that knowledge into testable laws and theories.
Master tells us not to believe anything at face value, He has given the teachings and the method to test and prove beyond any doubt that what he has taught us can be put into practice and is true. Add to this Master’s guarantee that stipulates with regular and consistent practice you will get the desired result, what greater blessing could anyone ask for? A disciple has to appreciate what he has in hand and learn to use that blessing to his ultimate advantage.
After thoroughly understanding the path and its principles, including the law of karma and how it works, our undivided focus and attention should be on our spiritual practice and the importance of achieving the ultimate. All the rest are details in the Masters capable hands. Einstein once said, “I want to know God’s thoughts, the rest are details.” Getting to know God’s thoughts requires one to first merge into the Lord. Upon merging into the Lord, it would be safe to surmise that details will become insignificant. As the Masters have said, it is a science; guesswork is not an option.
When you perceive His hidden secrets,
give your life to God’s affairs and truly live –
At last, made perfect in Reality,
you will be gone, and only God will be.
Attar, The Conference of the Birds